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Chris Kelly of Kriss Kross Passes Away at 34

Chris Kelly, one-half of the 90s hip-hop duo Kriss Kross, was found dead May 1 in his Atlanta home from a reported drug overdose, according to sources. He was 34.

Kelly, known as “Mac Daddy,” joined forces with Chris “Daddy Mac” Smith in Kriss Kross, one of the marquee acts on Jermaine Dupri’s So So Def record label in the 90s. After a lengthy hiatus, Kelly and Smith made an appearance as Kriss Kross at So So Def’s 20th anniversary all-star concert in Atlanta earlier this year.

The group’s breakout hit was 1992’s high-energy “Jump” in which the pair of child stars boldly wore their outfits backwards as a fashion statement.  In a January interview, Kelly told Yahoo! Music that he studied to become a music engineer and was partially responsible for discovering Da Brat during a talent show.

Kelly was found unresponsive in his Atlanta home and was pronounced dead at the Atlanta Medical Center, according to the Atlanta Journal Constitution. An autopsy was scheduled for May 2 but drug overdose appears to be the unofficial cause of death, according to AJC’s sources.

Kelly’s mother Donna Kelly Pratte issued a statement about her son’s death: “It is with deep sadness that we announce that our beloved Chris Kelly has passed away on May 1. To millions of fans worldwide, he was the trendsetting, backwards pants-wearing one-half of Kris Kross who loved making music. But to us, he was just Chris – the kind, generous and fun-loving life of the party. Though he was only with us a short time, we feel blessed to have been able to share some incredible moments with him. His legacy will live on through his music, and we will forever love him.”

About the Author


Jeff McQ is a songwriter/composer/musician with a diverse resume that includes everything from directing music in church to scoring short films. In addition to his role as chief editor for Music Is My Oxygen (and writing our DIY Musician Channel), Jeff also covers the local music scene for Examiner.com in his hometown of Denver, Colorado, and maintains The Developing Artist [http://artistdevelopmentblog.com], a blog dedicated to offering advice and encouragement to indie musicians.

When he's not tinkering in his home studio or blogging for hours on his laptop at the local coffee shop (to the annoyance of the baristas), Jeff McQ enjoys taking in local shows, going on road trips, wandering aimlessly, and talking to himself.

Posted in: Featured, Hip Hop Music